In a village near Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state in Brazil is based the Inhotim Centre for Contemporary Arts. A fascinating project in which various pavilions and structures are located throughout the lush green parkland of 35 hectares, surrounded by a verdant native forest. The most recent of these installations is one dedicated to Adriana Varejão (Río de Janeiro, 1964), one of the leading contemporary artists in Brazil.
The artist’s practice centers on the use of ceramic tiles, both depicted in paint and as literal components of the work. Varejão has cited a range of inspirations, alluding to her native Brazil’s colonization by featuring the blue and white ‘azulejos’ brought by the Portuguese colonists. With meticulous attention to craft, Varejão’s practice stages the convergence of binaries, between geometric and organic, mesmerizing and repulsive.
In Caruaru, Adriana Varejão has sculpted what may resemble a cross-section of a tiled floor, and beneath it, we see a bloody mess of entrails. The geometry and cool colouring of the tiles is offset by the violent, expressive and irrational nature of the ‘meat’ below. Varejão reiterates this fact with an emphasis on memory and history: we shall never be able to dissociate or apologise for the atrocities of colonisation, war, and injustice.